His parents had to sell off their property and jewellery to send him to New Zealand, but never did he imagine this was where his childhood dream of being a film star would come true.
Pratik Patel came to New Zealand from Gujarat in 2008 at the age of 19 to do a Diploma in Systems Technology course, but always harboured dreams of becoming an actor.
While starring in a documentary may not be the same as a Hollywood or Bollywood movie, Patel, now 32, believes it is a step in the right direction.
"I've always wanted to be an actor from the time I was a little child, but then I had to get into IT because that is what's going to feed me," he said.
Last year, Patel signed up for acting classes in New Zealand actor Peter Feeney's Actor's Lab Studio, while also taking part in the Mr India 2019 World Manhunt competition in New Delhi.
Patel was the only overseas participant in the competition and won the first runner-up title in the pageant.
"During my preparations in New Zealand, I was approached by Stonehedge Film asking if they could do a documentary on my journey," he said.
"I was just so thrilled and said yes, and in just a few days I'll be appearing on screens around the world."
The documentary, simply titled "Mr India", has won several awards and will screen at 11 film festivals around the world, including in the US, UK, Turkey and India. It will also be released on Stonehedge Film's Vimeo channel on Monday.
The film documents how Patel left his IT career, sold his prized belongings and travelled to India as a contestant for the Mr India beauty pageant without his family's knowledge.
Patel has also signed up with an acting agent earlier this month, and he has already been through several auditions.
"I can't say what these roles are, but I can say my career towards becoming an actor is most definitely on track," he said.
"New Zealand, for me, is truly a land of opportunities and where dreams do come true."
Before his move into acting, Patel had worked at Telecom NZ, which was renamed Spark, as an IT service engineer.
Since May 2018, he worked as an independent IT contractor and has worked as an IT engineer at Auckland Policy Office and Datacom since his return from the Mr India competition.
"I do not come from a rich background, and the only reason I am able to be where I am now is because of the great sacrifices my parents made. For that I am so grateful," Patel added.
Patel is now providing voluntary coaching and helping those going through depression through social media and hopes to be an inspiration to other migrants.
"As migrants, we all come here with our own dreams. I hope to be an inspiration to them, and an example that dreams do come true," he added.
Actor, model and television host Colin Mathura-Jeffree, who has been one of Patel's coaches, said he was excited to see where he goes in his chosen path.
Mathura-Jeffree said when they first met, Patel started with the narrative to see if he was good enough to train him.
"What a big mistake to say to me," said Mathura-Jeffree, an actor with 30 years experience.
"I see potential in everyone with drive, and Pratik has drive. But it's about finding the right vehicle to succeed is the hard part. A balance between ego and enjoyment."
Mathura-Jeffree said those who wanted to succeed in the industry must learn how to formulate relationships, and be someone that's "great to work with".
"I've acted with Bollywood stars and found them monstrously arrogant, but because I too had a whiff of stardom I wasn't intimidated by their antics," he said.
"People will say yes to Pratik and more people will say no. I hope he just keeps saying yes to himself as the most important conversation in his career."
Mathura-Jeffree's advice to Patel was to "just enjoy the journey".